Are You Confident Or Arrogant?

When dealing with egos, sometimes the hardest one to deal with is the person who is looking back at you in the mirror.

Highly effective leaders are also highly confident people. They are confident in their own ability to achieve great results. With being confident, they are also consistent in achieving great results which builds up momentum for themselves, the team, and the organisation.

It is this momentum that attracts attention to the highly effective leader, and other people in the organisation want to follow them.

1. Confidence Requires Humility

As we discussed in a previous article “Do You Have Humility?” it is very important to have humility along with your confidence. There is the danger of becoming over confident as you keep improving, and your results improve.

Highly effective leaders always have humility along with their confidence, this is a leadership trait that all highly effective leaders possess.


I’m not saying you can’t have pride in what you have achieved, or feel great about yourself. But, it is important that you portray an image of self-confidence and not arrogance in thinking how amazing you are.

How would this sound to you if I said this? “I am a person who believes in my own abilities. I am confident in myself. I take pride in what I do and what I have achieved in my life so far. I know who I am, and what I want to achieve in the future. I have a plan for my future.”

Does that seem arrogant or confident? It is confident. If you think that it seems arrogant, or you would find it difficult to have pride in yourself, then it is because of how you behave when you are taking pride in yourself.

Anyone who finds it difficult to be proud of who they are, what they’ve achieved, and their abilities are probably coming across a bit cocky, or over confident. Confidence and arrogance are so close, and the only way to not appear arrogant or cocky is to have humility.

To learn about humility then go back to my article “Do You Have Humility?”. If you don’t have humility when you are being confident, then you will come across as cocky. That is a huge mistake when working towards becoming a highly effective leader.

2. Building Trust

A highly effective leader builds trust with his/her teammates, their leader, and the organisation. If you are cocky then your teammates, leader, and eventually your organisation will not trust you at all. You will eventually be disliked by everyone.

If that happens it will be impossible to become a highly effective leader. The main difference between a person who is confident and a person who is cocky is what they believe. A confident person believes that they are good at what they do. A cocky person believes that they are better than everybody else at what they do.

Highly effective leaders actually use their confidence for the good of the team. They will use it to help raise the levels of the rest of the team, and encourage them to become highly effective leaders too. They use their confidence to keep adding value every day to their teammates and their organisation.

A cocky leader will subtract value from their teammates and organisation. A highly effective leader will openly share their knowledge to help increase their influence, but most importantly increase the confidence in their teammates. A highly effective leader is always confident, and they are never cocky.

People who are confident are usually confident in two areas. They are confident in themselves through what they believe/know, and experienced in their life. They are also confident in their abilities, skills, and competencies through what they have done either academically, or through their work.

A highly effective leader is confident in both areas, and it’s important that they maintain these confidences if they are to consistently keep achieving great results, help improve their teammates, and help their organisation grow.

3. Being Confident In Yourself

Being confident in yourself means that you have core beliefs and you live out your values 100%. Even when you are challenged on your core beliefs and values, you will not budge or be persuaded to believe something different. You do this because of the lessons you have learned, and the experiences you have had in your life.

For example, my core belief is that leadership needs to be taught differently to managers, and team members. Hence why I am writing articles and other materials on the subject.

I know this because of my experience of being a team member for the last 21 years, and an engineering manager for the last 11 years. Being confident in yourself is what makes you unique, and this confidence develops as you grow your character.

Being confident in your abilities, skills, and competencies means that you are certain within yourself. You 100% believe that you have the ability to complete a certain task.

For example, I 100% believe that I can teach and develop managers to become highly effective leaders, and I can teach and develop team members to increase their influence and become highly effective leaders.

If you keep developing your own competency, then this confidence will develop also. This is why we need to work on ourselves every day.

At present, you are learning something new in becoming a highly effective leader. So, you won’t be 100% confident in your abilities, skills, and competence yet. So, you can’t be 100% confident all the time.

You may move positions from team member to manager, so you would lack some knowledge at first and will need to build it up over time with experience and training.

There will be times when you will lack confidence in other members of your team, and their abilities to complete tasks. So there are areas outside of your control that you will lack confidence in too.

Being confident in yourself is all up to you. At present you may or may not have self-confidence, but that is all about your character and if you are developing it or not. As you are reading my articles, you are growing and character building.

So your self-confidence will be increasing. Your ability to learn new things is increasing too, and that again will increase your self-confidence.

You need to be confident in yourself if you want to increase your confidence in your abilities, skills, and competence. The two areas of confidence go hand in hand, and you need be confident in both areas if you are to become a highly effective leader.

But, you need to have humility in both areas too, otherwise you will come across as cocky and arrogant.

4. Knowing Your Strengths And Weaknesses

Highly effective leaders are confident in both areas because the 100% know what they believe and what they know, and 100% confident in their abilities, skills, and competence. The reason they are 100% confident in these areas is because they are also 100% confident in what they either don’t know, or can’t yet do.

They are confident in themselves to admit what they don’t know, or can’t yet do. They don’t try to pull the wool over people’s eyes or pretend that they know something when they don’t. They will go and find the knowledge they require from further learning, or ask a member of their team who has the knowledge to help them.

That is the only way they can successfully complete a task if they don’t fully have the knowledge or skills, and still remain 100% confident.


Earlier in my career when I was in University, if someone was to challenge me about what knowledge I had, or skills, then I would get very defensive about it. Sometimes I would feel offended.

Thinking back now, that was actually very cocky of me because I was not considering the other person’s observation of me. They were not trying to insult me, they were trying to help me. I thought I was better than I actually was, and I couldn’t see it.

Now, I look at this type of situation from both sides, and if the other person is right about me, then I am confident enough in myself about what I know, but also what I don’t know. I take pride in myself that I have this confidence, and that is why I am sharing it with you.

I invite you to do the same in sharing the knowledge you have with your team, others in your organisation, and even your friends and family. This will increase your influence, your confidence in yourself, and also keep you on the right path to becoming a highly effective leader.

Accepting feedback on your abilities, skills, competence, and most importantly your performance is so important if you want to improve.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

26 thoughts on “Are You Confident Or Arrogant?

  1. Thanks for sharing another very informative post, Tom. It’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance, I agree. In my experience, arrogance is going to turn back on you and you’ll notice that in your results, in your work, social life, etc. While on the other hand, healthy confidence is never about boasting about your results or putting others down just because you’re more successful then they are. It’s ok to feel good about your success and abilities, but it’s even better to help others to get on the same train by sharing your experience and knowledge, just like you’re doing here. Thanks again for a great read and keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Ivan,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this article valuable.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences with this and I completely agree that arrogance will turn back on you in the future. I have actually seen this happen in my experiences too with people who I’ve known and who I’ve worked with too.

      Keep returning, keep leading and keep engaging.

      All the best,


  2. Hi Tom,

    This article was created for! I am in the Tech Industry where My confidence is needed, I know what am doing and my collegues are always encouraging and reminding me am good, but one killer thing is my confidence until today that is what I suffer from sooooo badly that I feel and believe it has really affected me. Your article has really inspired me as it has taken away my fear of thinking being or showing confidence is arrogance! Thank you for this article!!!!

    1. Hi Mercy,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so happy that this article has inspired you to keep being confident, and look at confidence in a different way.

      As long as you are humble with your confidence then people will admire you for your confidence and will want to follow in your footsteps.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  3. I take this particular subject of confidence and arrogance to a different place personally. I am a stay at home mother at the moment so my children are my organization, and I am their leader. I like to think I am a highly effective leader for them in raising good human beings. I have high confidence in areas I know more about with raising my children and teaching them right from wrong in general. I do have some grey areas that we are getting to with their ages that I have had to tell them flat out “I do not know this answer” or I have even had to say “I am not sure what is the right way to navigate this situation, we should ask for help” Children are a different situation than having co-workers or people who work under you as a leadership position, but I still think some of these same principles apply. I enjoy your writing so much I always seem to be able to apply your articles in my personal life as much as a professional capacity in thinking of what kind of leader I hope to be when I get back to the work place.

    1. Hi Cheyenne,

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your story with your children. You certainly are their highly effective leader and your children will look up to you as that.

      I’m so pleased that you enjoy these articles, I will keep them coming and hopefully you will keep enjoying them.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  4. Hello Tom – really great confidence building article. I enjoyed your contrast of confidence, arrogance and humility. You make an excellent point “If you keep developing your own competency, then this confidence will develop also”. I always refer back to the saying “Knowledge is Power”. I have to keep developing my knowledge, inturn my confidence grows. Thank you for such great articles.

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article valuable.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences with confidence and arrogance and It’s great that you are developing your knowledge and confidence at the same time.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  5. It’s funny how your articles always bring back memories from long ago, Tom! This time I had to think to something that happened when I was 22.
    I was a teacher back then, started the year before after graduation. Too young probably and really insecure.
    When I accidently overheard a conversation between a couple of my students I was truly upset. They said I was so confident all the time and knew everything the best. And they probably meant cocky instead of confident, because their tone of voice wasn’t positive at all.
    I survived. 🙂 And a year later I was able to talk to these students about those feelings. They were insecure as well of course. Our difference in age was only about 4 years, so in the end we could understand each others weaknesses very well.

    1. Hi Hannie,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that my articles bring back memories for you. Hopefully they are always positive memories.

      I am so appreciative of you sharing your experiences with us. This particular experience as a 22 year old teacher really does resonate, and will resonate with lots of people. I have heard similar conversations of team members who I led, and they definitely meant I was cocky. The reason was probably because I was, and I needed to change.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  6. This is a highly useful port for anyone looking into some self development. I personally think that there us fine line between being confident and arrogant. How humble and understanding you are as a human being than simply a command giver without placing yourself in other person’s shoe.
    I’ve noticed how my managers at work tend to be pretty consistent with the skills but after years of practice I believe.

    Thank you for educating us all.

    1. Hi Habib,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this article useful.

      I am so grateful that you shared your experiences in your place of work with your managers. It is so important to follow managers who are confident and not arrogant. That is how they will build trust with us.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  7. Terrific article Tom. I agree with you completely. Early in my career I certainly exhibited some arrogance. Fortunately I had some. fantastic mentors that helped understand. Being humbled helped bring some true humility at work and everywhere else in my life too.

    There was a guy I reported to many years ago. He was an EVP. He was one of the brightest, most talented people I ever worked with. But, he was also the most arrogant person I ever worked with. He seemed to get by with it for a number of years but it caught up with him. He went through quite a humbling too.

    Someone once told me, “The best way to get humility is to be humiliated. OUCH! I’ve been there and it gave me great reason to be truly humble.

    Thanks for your excellent article!

    1. Hi Glenn,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you thought this was a terrific article.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences with your mentor. I can resonate with this as I had a mentor for years, and still have one. Mentors are so important and they really can help with building our confidence in the right way.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  8. Great article Tom, this is what every one needs to hear starting out.

    Having confidence is great but overconfidence can get you in trouble real fast depending on the trade. My step son got his first car at age 18 which I was totally against it. I just didn’t feel he had the ability to drive well enough to have his own car.

    When his windshield wiper broke one day I told him he needs to fix it before it rains and can’t drive. He didn’t and decided that he was confident that he could drive in the rain with a broken wiper. He had the car for less then 2 weeks. Talk about overconfident.

    Overconfidence can get us killed or someone else however we need to have enough confidence to be willing to try things as well.

    1. Hi Rick,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this a great article, means a lot to me.

      I completely agree that there is being confident and there is being over confident. I really appreciate you sharing your story about your 18 year old step son as many people will be able to relate. I’m really sorry to hear about this, and I hope you are ok.

      All the best to you,


  9. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for this article! I agree with most of what you said, but I do disagree with a few of your points. I don’t think that being unable to say all of what you bring up in your first section with confidence means that you’re arrogant – it might mean that, but it also might mean that you’re still working on building your self-confidence. This is the case with myself. I’m still working on building confidence and figuring out where my life is going, but I’m definitely not arrogant about it – I just acknowledge that I have a lot of learning to do before I can be

    The other main point I disagree with is that being confident in yourself means that “when you are challenged on your core beliefs and values, you will not budge or be persuaded to believe something different.” I disagree very strongly with this assertion, as I think it’s important to have our ideas and beliefs challenged, and it’s important to keep an open mind and listen to other perspectives and ideas. I agree that you don’t want be super easily swayed on everything, but you can definitely be confident in yourself and your beliefs and still be open to the idea that you might be wrong or misguided. I think that’s actually part of recognizing your strengths and weaknesses.

    Other than these two points, I agree! You’ve also given me much to contemplate. Thank you for this informative, thought-provoking article.

    1. Hi Jade,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that this article has provoked you to think about things and brought up some real emotion in you.

      I really appreciate you expressing your feelings on this article and the two points that you are making. I can feel your passion when reading your words and its so important to state what you believe, especially when you disagree with someone. Please keep this passion going and live your values as you currently so.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  10. Very interesting article. There is indeed a fine line between being cocky or confident.

    “A confident person believes that they are good at what they do. A cocky person believes that they are better than everybody else” That line stuck with me.
    A confident person can admit that they need help and can ask for opinions and feedback. In fact, right now, a book I am about to publish is being read by two beta readers, and parts of it are discussed in a weekly betaread online meeting. Receiving feedback about something your put your heart and soul into can be excruciating, but at the same time I appreciate the comments and feedback I am receiving. They are not criticisms, they are meant to help, and that should always be appreciated.

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this article interesting and made you think about your meetings with your beta readers a bit deeper.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences in your beta reader meetings and it’s great that you can see your feedback as constructive and not criticism. It really is meant to help you, just as your comment and the comment of others on my article helps me.

      Good luck with your book and let me know when it is published.

      All the best,


  11. The content you product is out of this world. I’ve been following you for quite some time now and you never cease to amaze me.

    You were right about everything you said. Not being able to control and separate ourselves from our ego is a recipe for disaster. As a wise man once said “We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility”

    Wish you all the best, Tom! 🙂

    1. Hi Gorjan,

      Thank you very much for your kind comment. I am so pleased that you found this article valuable.

      I appreciate you saying that my content is out of this world, that really does mean a lot to me. I completely agree with your quote, humility is the difference between confidence and arrogance.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


  12. Tom,

    I have to admit, I’m a confident person, but I’m humble about it. I don’t go around “tooting my own horn” especially in times when it really matters. I’ve met a lot of people that don’t seem to think they have any flaws, or can improve in any way in public, but then behind the scenes they hate themselves.
    I’ve never understood feeling the need to pretend in public to save face. I never mind that people know my flaws, everyone has flaws. It’s okay to be flawed, in fact, it’s what makes us each unique.

    I sometimes have a hard time teaching my girls this, but they’re still only 11 and 13. I suppose in time, they’ll continue to learn. But I will say, girls are the hardest to teach, especially when so much rides on how awesome they think they are.

    I love this article and just found it so useful. Thanks for sharing your insights with the world.


    1. Hi Katrina,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you fund this article so useful, means a lot to me.

      It’s great to hear that you are a confident and humble person, I try to be the same every day. I love how you are teaching your girls the difference between confidence and arrogance. I know it is tough but we just have to persevere with our youngsters, and eventually we will get through to them, and they will grow up to be confident, humble, wonderful human beings.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keel leading.

      All the best,


  13. Hi Tom,

    I am myself a leadership expert of sorts. I have, in fact, authored two books on leadership.

    Arrogance has absolutely no place in a leader’s life. It is humility that works best in life as well as leadership. That said, I do not mean diffidence, as confidence is a leader’s greatest asset. Unfounded and unreal fake confidence is what can be a problem.


    1. Hi Aparna,

      Wow, I din’t know you authored two books. Congratulations, what are the books called and how do I get a copy?

      I couldn’t agree with you more that arrogance has no place in a leader’s life.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,


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